Do you suffer from chronic headaches? If you do, you may not be aware that your friendly neighborhood Burien dentist might be your best source to help you treat them.
How so? Because the root of your headaches could be coming from your mouth.
90% of headaches are tension related, caused by stress, depression or anxiety – 3 things that have been on the rise since COVID-19.
When tension increases the muscle strain that develops in the face and jaw it can cause headaches. And your dentist is able to help diagnose whether this strain is a result of your jaw or teeth not aligning properly.
Here are 3 ways your mouth could be giving you a headache:
1. You Have a Bad Bite – There are various dental issues that can cause a bad bite, aka malocclusion in the dental world. Previous dental work, hereditary, misshaped teeth, orthodontic issues (i.e. an overbite) or even incoming wisdom teeth. So, what’s a ‘bad bite’? It basically means the chewing surfaces of your teeth don’t align when your jaw is shut, or when you chew. This causes the muscles in your jaw to continually overcompensate for the imbalance, resulting in pain and soreness that can trigger headaches. If you bite is misaligned it also adds pressure on certain teeth which will wear them down unevenly.
Our goal is to make sure that you have a healthy bite, so your upper teeth fit slightly over your lower teeth and the points of your molars fit the grooves of the opposite molar. When your jaws and teeth line up like this it will improve the function, and longevity of your teeth – and it can reduce your headaches. There are a few ways that we can correct your bite – we can reshape uneven or misaligned teeth via veneers , dental bonding or dental crowns. And if your bite needs more orthodontic support we may suggest Invisalign. These clear, plastic retainers will straighten your teeth while also correcting crossbites, open bites, overbites, and underbites. The final result is a smile that looks amazing and functions properly.
2. You Have a Jaw Disorder – Your headaches could be a result of you having a jaw disorder like temporomandibular joint disorder, also referred to as TMD. The temporomandibular joint connects to your lower jaw and is located on both sides of your head, in front of the ears. It’s responsible for the opening and closing of your jaws, and it enables you to talk and eat. TMJ disorder is a condition that involves the improper functioning of the muscles and joints, because your jaws are not properly aligned. Having TMJ disorder can cause tenderness at that joint, as well as facial pain, headaches and difficulty moving your jaws. 99% of time TMJ disorder is the result of an injury to the joint related to anything from whiplash to a sports injury.
If you experience a popping or clicking sound of your jaw, this is usually a sign of the disorder, but properly diagnosing TMJ disorder is difficult because there are many factors involved. Much like a physical therapist who can assess and correct any muscle imbalances by looking at the entire picture to determine the root cause, Dr. Beffa is trained in Neuromuscular dentistry and can provide a comprehensive evaluation to identify the cause of your jaw imbalance. Should you have a jaw disorder, the goal will be to properly realign your jaws, and this could involve a non-invasive dental treatment that involves designing a custom fit orthotic, which will gently force the jaw into a more natural and comfortable position. This orthotic is usually worn at night, but sometimes longer, until a proper alignment is achieved. The positive changes in patient symptoms can be dramatic!
3. You Grind & Clench Your Teeth – Do you often wake up in the morning with a headache? You may be grinding your teeth. Also referred to a bruxism, most people aren’t aware that they grind their teeth because it usually happens at night, or it happens unconsciously during the day, when stressful moments arise – hello, 2020! While you might be unaware of your grinding, we’ll definitely notice signs of it during your dental exam with us. Symptoms of teeth grinding include: abnormal teeth wear and chipped teeth, having sensitive teeth caused from worn down enamel, pain and tension in the jaw and ears. Besides stress or anxiety, teeth grinding can also be related to having misaligned teeth, as well as TMJ disorder, or a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea.
Chronic teeth grinding isn’t good for your teeth, your health or your wallet – it usually leads to needing more serious dental treatments. Fortunately, we can help protect your teeth from you by either aligning your teeth, or with a custom designed night guard -they put a barrier between your teeth, help prevent your tooth enamel from wearing down, and will reduce the tension in your jaw muscles.
Stop the Headaches & Fix the Dental Issues
Besides the headache causes described above, you headaches could also be related to other dental issues like cavities, a tooth infection an abscess, or a faulty restoration. All the more reason to visit us to see if that headache you’re always suffering from is actually coming from your mouth.
If it’s dental related, we’ll be able to properly align your teeth and jaws, perfect your smile, and reduce your headaches. Stop your mouth from giving you a headache, give us a call today at (206) 242-0066 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online!